Homer’s homeland, Ios has both beauty and grace – and is famed for both its nightlife, which stretches into the morning hours, as well as its numerous white-washed churches. Ios presents the emblematic Cyclades image as it offers a canvas of white against blue, accented by the varied bright-colored details of window frames and doors. Stone-paved squares and homes straight from an Aegean fairytale, the medieval kastro (Castle), the Church of the Panayia Gremiotissa, and the stately windmills overlooking the capital, Hora, are all part of that picture. The ruins of a Proto-Cycladic settlement are arrayed over Skarkos Hill since the settlement’s destruction after the eruption of Santorini’s volcano. Traces of an ancient aqueduct are still visible outside the Kambos. Other sights include the ruins of a Hellenistic tower dubbed ‘Psaropyrgos’ because of the color of its stone and Homer’s grave.
Foodies can revel in local dishes like revithokeftedes (chickpea balls), tomatokeftedes (tomato patties), tsimetia (stuffed courgette blossoms), sun-dried whitebait, tsikoudia, and crunchy pasteli made from local thyme honey and sesame seeds, avgokalamara (also called xerotigana), kalitsounia with mizithra cheese and honey (also called melitinia), amygdalota, and dried fig rolls bound with sesame seeds.
Locally-raised goat, lamb, and beef are known for their quality and flavor. Ios specialties include cheeses: sour white kefalotiri, which is salty and sharp; skotiri, a blend of cheeses, mizithra cheese, and aromatic herbs; and sweet mizithra.
Mayiotiko is honey from May flowers and is noted for its aroma and amber color.